Grassroots Player Registration: Whole Game System update

Dear Mary,

We are aware that over the past fortnight some of our colleagues in grassroots football have reported issues with the speed and functionality of Whole Game System which has also affected Full-Time and Matchday. This has come at a time when we know everyone is trying to prepare to get back to playing after the long period of lockdown. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience this has caused and thank you for the additional time you have invested in registering your players.

At the beginning of lockdown, we had anticipated these challenges with Whole Game System and took significant steps to address them. We invested in greater server capacity to meet increased demand, expanded our grassroots service desk by 50% to resolve user queries and ran 50+ virtual training sessions with over 10,000 volunteers to encourage early registration.

Unfortunately, the unprecedented demand created by a record 83,000 teams registering players, the uncertainty of the pandemic leading many clubs to hold back on their administration and the fact that Whole Game System is a legacy system that is due for replacement has caused the challenging performance speeds we are currently experiencing. So far over 1 million players have registered on the system, and we are fully aware of the ongoing challenges the volume of registrations is causing.

Last week we deployed a new queueing system for Whole Game System with a view to increasing the system speed, allowing users to complete their tasks more quickly once they are into the system. Whilst queueing is never popular, this mitigation has seen performance improve, and we hope you have each benefited from this.

Looking ahead, we have invested in and will be shortly launching a new platform for player registration which will make the process simpler and quicker as well as addressing speed and performance issues. All of your existing player records in Whole Game System will be migrated into this new system, minimising the volunteer work required. We are excited by what this will have to offer to all of the grassroots game and look forward to rolling this out in the near future.

In the meantime, we can assure you that we are doing everything we can within the limitations of the current system to help you complete the player registration process as quickly as possible.

Thank you for bearing with us.

Craig Donald, Chief Information Officer, The FA
James Kendall, Director of Football Development, The FA